News and Press Releases of DIW Berlin News and Press Releases en DIW Berlin Tomaso Duso: „Germany and France should defend European competition policy, not attack it!“ ]]> Wed, 20 Feb 2019 02:30:00 +0200 Björn Fischer receives Scholarship from the Forschungsnetzwerk Alterssicherung Björn Fischer from the Public Economics department has been granted a scholarship from the Forschungsnetzwerk Alterssicherung (research network for old-age provision) from April 2019 on.

The Dean of the Graduate Center, Prof. Weizsäcker congratulates Björn on his success!

Wed, 20 Feb 2019 12:02:00 +0200
Stefan Etgeton has successfully defended his dissertation Stefan Etgeton, who works at the Public Economics department, has successfully defended his dissertation at the Freie Universität Berlin.

The dissertation with the title "The Impact of Pension Reforms on Income Inequality, Savings, and Health" was supervised by Prof. Dr. Peter Haan (DIW Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof. André Decoster, Ph.D. (KU Leuven).

We congratulate Stefan on his success and wish him all the best for his future career!

Wed, 20 Feb 2019 11:41:00 +0200
Mathias Huebener wins Award for Best Dissertation in Educational Economics The Verein für Socialpolitik has awarded Mathias Huebener, a Post Doctoral Research Associate at the DIW Education and Family Department, with the prize for best dissertation in educational economics. His dissertation is titled "Essays on the impact of education and family policies on the formation of human capital".

The prize is awarded every two years and the winner is admitted into the VfS board for educational economics. 

The GC congratulates Mathias on his success!

Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:36:00 +0200
Call for papers Quarterly Journal of Economic Research 4-2019: Debt – Blessing or Curse? More than ten years after the outbreak of the Great Financial Crisis and almost ten years since the beginning of the European sovereign debt crisis, questions about the opportunities and risks of debt and debates about debt brakes have remained acute.

Debt is the driving force behind investment, economic growth and prosperity: without the indebted­ness of private households, companies and governments, there are no interest-bearing investments in which savers can invest. Real interest rates are generated by productive investments in the real economy. The current low interest rates point to insufficient investment activity and a surplus of savings. On the other hand, the global financial crisis was a crisis of over-indebtedness resulting from unproductive investments in non-valuable financial instruments. Over-indebted banks had to reduce their debts, reorganise themselves or had to be rescued by the state. Countries that borrowed on the international capital markets had to pay higher interest rates, fell into a crisis and received new debt through "rescue packages". At the same time, debt ceilings represent an obstacle to overcoming crises through credit-financed investments. Similarly at the level of private households: on the one hand, they need loans for productive participation in economic life and for business start-ups; on the other hand, consumers with lower incomes or liquidity are vulnerable to over-indebtedness. In order to avoid insolvency, they often have to accept rescheduling loans or revolving loans with expensive residual debt insurance policies that further increase their debt burden. In this context, the question arises to what extent consumers are affected by irresponsible or usurious lending and what regulatory measures are necessary to prevent this. Market failures in credit markets, whether due to usury, exclusion of customer groups or speculative exuberance in the pricing of bonds, can be corrected by government intervention in order to increase welfare.

This issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economic Research deals with the economic and social effects of debt and its appropriate regula­tion. Central questions can be among others:

  • Economic and social effects of private sector debt (households, non-financial and financial enterprises) and public sector debt
  • Development of global debt
  • Is there an optimal level of indebtedness and if so, why?
  • Do debts have to be limited and what effects do debt brakes have? Should the state behave like a "Swabian housewife"?
  • Market failures in credit markets and opportunities for correction: Usury, market power, rationing, exclusion, discrimination, speculative exuberance
  • Influence of private debt (households and enterprises) on investment and consumption
  • Link between debt growth, asset prices and financial stability
  • Link between public debt and economic growth
  • Debt sustainability of households, enterprises and governments
  • Over-indebtedness: causes, problems and possible solutions
  • Responsible vs. usurious lending
  • Transaction lending vs. relationship lending, role of long-term credit relationships
  • Debt of banks compared to non-financial corporations, regulation of bank debt
  • Effects of debt relief and debt restructuring
  • Monetary policy and national debt, debt of central banks
  • Impact of the low interest rate environment and unconventional monetary policy on the debt and debt sustainability of the public and private sector
  • Economic Thought History of Debt, Modern Monetary Theory
  • Economic history: origination of money by debts, credit cycles

Theoretical and empirical contributions are welcome. Political implications of the analyses should be presented and discussed. Position papers from associations, politics and business can also be submitted.

Authors wishing to submit a contribution (German or English) are asked to submit an abstract (maximum 1 page) to Peter Hennecke, Doris Neuberger & Dorothea Schäfer by March 15, 2019 (,, Authors will receive feedback on whether the proposal is accepted no later than April 1, 2019. Final contributions should not exceed 30,000 characters and have to be submitted by September 1, 2019. Final contributions will be subject to copyediting and a review process. The issue is scheduled to be published by the end of 2019.

Editors: Peter Hennecke, Doris Neuberger and Dorothea Schäfer

Tue, 29 Jan 2019 01:59:00 +0200
Language Skills and Employment Rate of Refugees in Germany Improving with Time by Herbert Brücker, Johannes Croisier, Yuliya Kosyakova, Hannes Kröger, Giuseppe Pietrantuono, Nina Rother and Jürgen Schupp

Asylum seekers migrating to Germany remains a hotly debated topic. The second wave of a longitudinal survey of refugees shows that their integration has progressed significantly, even though some refugees came to Germany in poor health and with little formal education. Compared to the previous year, refugees’ German skills have improved, as have their participation rates in the workforce, education, and training.

Mon, 28 Jan 2019 11:00:00 +0200
Increasing number of women on supervisory boards of major companies in Germany: executive boards still dominated by men By Elke Holst and Katharina Wrohlich

The gender quota for supervisory boards is continuing to show its impact: the proportion of women on the supervisory boards of the 200 highest-performing companies in Germany increased by over two percentage points to 27 percent the past year. In the 100 largest companies, it increased by over three percentage points to 28 percent. However, there are now indications that the companies are only doing the bare minimum, as the proportion of women in the group of the 30 largest DAX companies—many of which have already reached the minimum of 30 percent women—has stagnated at one-third. Additionally, it is becoming more and more apparent that the gender quota does not have the impact hoped for on executive boards, at least not in the short term. Even though the ten percent mark was reached for the first time in the top 100 companies, most development is still taking place at a snail’s pace. It is still up to companies to stymie demands for binding board member quotas. To do this, however, they must act as quickly as possible and consistently fill all hierarchical levels, especially beneath the board, with more women in order to increase the pool of potential female board members.

Fri, 18 Jan 2019 11:36:00 +0200
Women on high-level boards of banks and insurance companies: growth coming to a standstill on supervisory boards By Elke Holst and Katharina Wrohlich

The proportion of women on executive boards of the 100 largest banks stagnated at almost nine percent in 2018. In the 60 largest insurance companies, the proportion increased by a good percentage point to almost ten percent. While growth on executive boards has been weakening in past years, it is now slowing down on supervisory boards in the financial sector as well. In 2018, the proportion of women on financial sector supervisory boards remained at around 23 percent. If the current linear development were to continue, it would now take longer—almost until the beginning of the next century— for the top bodies to be composed of equal numbers of men and women. Compared to men, women in the financial sector are less likely to be promoted to senior management positions than in any other sector. This is due to, among other things, particularly inflexible working structures for managers, which ensure that women are hardly represented in middle management although they make up the majority of employees.

Fri, 18 Jan 2019 11:30:00 +0200
Construction industry momentum continues – state stimulus impacts prices By Martin Gornig, Claus Michelsen, and Martin Bruns

According to the German Institute for Economic Research construction volume forecast, the country’s construction industry will continue to flourish in the coming years. Companies can count on a rise in the nominal construction volume of around 7.5 percent in 2019 and 6.5 percent next year. The industry’s business cycle continues to be supported by the flourishing residential construction sector, which has received additional stimulus from policy makers. The child benefit for building and increased tax deduction rates for rental unit construction will make prices catapult. But due to the short-term nature of the funding programs, the construction industry will minimally expand its capacity and instead leverage its flexibility in setting prices. The nominal rise in the volume of new construction of over ten percent will be offset by a significantly lower growth rate adjusted for inflation. In view of the nation’s tight innercity housing market and the current high level of real new housing construction, policy makers would do well to establish incentives for urban development – building on vacant lots, in particular – and supporting the construction of additional residential space in urban development zones instead of taking a shotgun approach to funding. Above all, a funding approach for social housing targeted to specific geographical areas would be useful.

Mon, 14 Jan 2019 03:00:00 +0200
Marie Le Mouel has successfully defended her dissertation Marie Le Mouel, who worked at the Firms and Markets department, has successfully defended her dissertation at the Technische Universität Berlin.

The dissertation with the title "Knowledge-Based Capital and Firm Productivity" was supervised by Prof. Dr. Tomaso Duso (Technische Universität Berlin, DIW Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Alexandra Spitz-Oener (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

We congratulate Marie on her success and wish her all the best for her future career.

Fri, 21 Dec 2018 01:11:00 +0200
Graduation Ceremony 2018 Last week, 12 new Ph.D. graduates received their certificates. In a festive ceremony with musical accompaniment, the new Ph.D.s were honored by the Graduate Center dean Prof. Georg Weizsäcker Ph.D. and the head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) Hans Joachim Schellnhuber who held the commencement speech.

We wish each and every one much success in their future careers!

Fri, 21 Dec 2018 12:53:00 +0200
Tomaso Duso elected as an academic member in the Stearing Committee of the Association of Competition Economics (ACE)
Tomaso Duso was elected as an academic member in the Stearing Committee of the Association of Competition Economics (ACE) starting on 1st January 2019.
ACE was created in 2003 and brings together competition economists working in government, academia and the private sector. It provides a forum for discussion and debate on competition-related policies and specific cases. It is a not-for-profit organization based in Europe and is open to all those interested in the economics of competition.

Fri, 21 Dec 2018 12:21:00 +0200
Global Economy and the Euro Area: Uncertainty Weighs on Trade and Investment: DIW Economic Outlook By Claus Michelsen, Dawud Ansari, Guido Baldi, Geraldine Dany-Knedlik, Hella Engerer, Stefan Gebauer, Malte Rieth, and Aleksandar Zaklan

The global expansion weakened somewhat in the third quarter while the downside risks have increased. DIW Berlin’s forecast—almost unchanged—indicates an expansion in global economic production of 4.3 percent for 2018 and 3.9 percent for 2019. In 2020, momentum will slow down further to 3.6 percent. In some countries, temporary factors  contributed to the economic slowdown. In major advanced economies, private consumption remains the mainstay of the economy due to the good labor market situation. However, corporate investment and foreign trade are increasingly suffering from the current major political uncertainties. Brexit and the Italian crisis pose risks to investment and consumption and if the trade dispute escalates, there is also a risk of a global recession. Monetary policy should remain expansionary for the time being. No more significant fiscal policy stimuli are to be expected, especially since government measures in the US will expire in the forecast period.

Tue, 18 Dec 2018 06:00:00 +0200
Growth Rate of German Economy Normalizing after Prolonged Economic Boom: DIW Economic Outlook By Claus Michelsen, Christian Breuer, Martin Bruns, Max Hanisch, Simon Junker, and Thore Schlaak

The German economy continues to perform well although the boom has ended. However, at 1.5 percent, German GDP will increase this year at a lower rate than expected at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, concerns about an imminent recession should give way to the assessment that the pace of the German economy is normalizing after years of above-average growth due to robust foreign demand and increasing employment levels. A gradual reduction in high capacity utilization will be accompanied by lower GDP growth; in the short term, however, this will be overshadowed by catch-up effects in the automotive industry following production and delivery problems and by the fiscal income boosts at the beginning of 2019, the most important being reduced social security contributions.

Tue, 18 Dec 2018 05:58:00 +0200
Marcel Fratzscher: „Monetary policy in the euro area will remain expansionary for a long time to come“ ]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 03:45:00 +0200 Germany’s economic boom is cooling off According to DIW Berlin estimations, the German economy will continue to grow noticeably over the next two years. However, the economic boom is over as economic momentum is likely to cool off. DIW Berlin thus confirms its estimations from the late summer that the growth rate of the German economy is gradually returning to normal, overlaid by non-recurring effects. However, DIW Berlin is lowering its forecast for 2018 to 1.5 percent.

At present, the economic situation is unusually unclear, partly due to developments in the automotive industry. Motor vehicle manufacturers are having major problems certifying their vehicles in accordance with the new exhaust and consumption standards. Certification is a prerequisite for selling their vehicles in Europe. As a result, fewer cars were sold both domestically and abroad in late summer, which led manufacturers to cut back production. This also curbed exports, investments in the vehicle fleet, and private consumption.

The production losses are expected to be made up at least in part in the winter half-year. However, this forecast is subject to unusually high uncertainty: it is quite possible that there will be no further recovery and that the growth momentum this year and next will be weaker than forecast. At present, GDP is expected to grow by 1.6 percent in 2019. Frequently voiced concerns that the German economy will overheat are thus likely finally over. In 2020, the growth rate is likely to be 1.8 percent—but it will be a good 0.4 percentage points stronger due to a higher number of working days.

Wed, 12 Dec 2018 09:30:00 +0200
EU government bonds and banks: home bias pervasive throughout member states but capital requirements differ greatly By Dominik Meyland and Dorothea Schäfer

The current banking regulatory framework assigns EU government bonds a risk weight of zero. Since the European debt crisis, there has been increasing controversy over eliminating this equity capital privilege, which is viewed as contributing to the close relationship between state and bank risks. This report analyses the development of home bias—the tendency of major European banks to invest disproportionately high in domestic government bonds—for Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. In addition, it examines how much additional equity capital the banks of the euro area’s major nations would require if equity capital privilege were eliminated. This report shows that home bias has increased over the last four years for many major European banks. Home bias only affects the additional capital requirements of Italian and Spanish banks, as their home countries have comparatively weak ratings. The estimated additional capital required if equity capital privilege were to be abolished indicates that Italian banks have the highest capital requirement at 11.5 billion euros, followed by the Spanish banks at 9.5 billion euros. Eliminating equity capital privilege would thus make it much more difficult to finance sovereign debt in Italy and Spain. Therefore, it would be advisable to introduce risk weighting for government bonds only after the EU sovereign debt levels have stabilized. At the same time, measures should be taken to make it easier for banks to reduce their home bias and better diversify their government bond portfolios.

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 04:00:00 +0200
Marcel Fratzscher: „Euro area reform deal is a disappointing compromise“ ]]> Tue, 04 Dec 2018 02:13:00 +0200 Social sustainability labels: promises and reality in the example of Fairtrade-coffee By Pio Baake, Jana Friedrichsen, and Helene Naegele

Fairtrade certification is intended to improve both the income and living conditions of producers, thereby creating more fairness in international trade. However, theoretical considerations and empirical studies show that this goal is only achieved to a limited extent, at least for coffee: Faitrade certification leads at best to small increases in income for coffee farmers. The results on the reduction of income volatility, payments used to implement social projects, and improved access to credit are also mixed. Fairtrade is a means of market segmentation for roasters and retailers. [...]

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 05:00:00 +0200
Gert G. Wagner was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Gert G. Wagner was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on September 3, 2018, by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for his services to the Federal Republic of Germany. The cross was presented on November 19, 2018, by Berlin’s Secretary of State, Christian Gaebler.

As a Professor Emeritus, Gert G. Wagner continues to be very active in research and policy work: he is working as a Senior Research Fellow at the SOEP and as a Max Planck Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. In April, he joined the network of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society as a Research Associate. Since June, he has been a member of the newly created interdisciplinary research group “Implications of digitization for the quality of science communication" at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) in cooperation with acatech (German Academy of Science and Engineering). In July, he was appointed to the editorial board of the renowned multidisciplinary online journal PLOS One.
Recently he was re-appointed to a four-year term on the Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection by Katarina Barley, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection.

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 03:17:00 +0200